Terralog Technologies, in collaboration with the City of Los Angeles and the Environmental Protection Agency, has been successfully operating the world’s first deep well biosolids injection project at the Terminal Island Sanitation Plant. With this innovative technology, municipal sanitation sludge is injected into high porosity sand formation in the deep subsurface (about 5200ft) at the north end of the Wilmington Graben. There the natural geothermal heat quickly (with 24 hours) sterilizes the waste material and over time (within about 90 days) biodegrades and converts the organic mass into CO2 and methane. The CO2 goes into solution in the formation brine, while the less soluble methane collects over time for potential future recovery. This on-site processing allows the City of Los Angeles to reduce long-distance truck transportation and land application of biosolids in Kern County and Arizona. The process significantly reduces truck traffic, eliminates significant greenhouse gas emissions, provides for more thorough treatment and protection of surface and near surface groundwater, and provides potential for conversion of sanitation wastes to renewable clean energy.
Injection operations have been successfully underway for more than 18 months, with daily injection of about 5000 bpd of digested sludge, biosolids, and brine generated from reverse osmosis treatment facilities. Placement and containment of injectate in the subsurface has been tracked through extensive pressure analysis, continuous fiber optic temperature sensors outside casing, and offset well microseismic monitoring, pressure and temperature monitoring, and fluid sampling. This presentation will describe the operations and the monitoring results to date.
Dr. Michael Bruno, primary inventor and developer of the biosolids injection technology, has been President of Terralog Technologies since 1994. Terralog specializes in reservoir geomechanics, gas storage operations (including CO2 sequestration), and waste injection operations. He has published more than 40 papers on these various topics. Prior to joining Terralog, Dr. Bruno worked for 13 years for Chevron Oil Field Research Company, holding positions as Senior Research Engineer and Geomechanics Group Leader. Dr. Bruno has served as an SPE Distinguished Lecturer, as past Review Chairman for the SPE Reservoir Engineering and Evaluation Journal, and has served as Chairperson of the Los Angeles Basin Section of the SPE twice (1994 and 2002).